Amtrak Wi-Fi (WiFi) Availability

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Greg Moore
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Greg Moore » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:23 pm

shadyjay wrote: Personally, I could care less about having Wi-Fi access when I'm on the train. Isn't it all about the journey... looking out the window at the passing scenery, meeting/talking with new people? Oh yeah - a 21st century conversation is two people sitting next to each other, texting each other back n' forth.
The journey? You mean my weekly commute from NYP-WAS where I've pretty much seen it all before. :-)

I will admit that I still often enjoy the trip from ALB-HUD along the Hudson, but honestly, after your 100th time, the view isn't quite as impressive. :-)
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jstolberg
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by jstolberg » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:18 pm

My gear is not particularly new. At home I have an 8 year old desktop hardwired to the router and a 2 year old laptop connected by wi-fi. My cell phone is 5 years old but is always on. I take business calls from 7 am to 6 pm, and the phone is the fastest way to reach me. One of the home computers is generally being used by one of the kids, so having a second insures that I can get on when I want.

We've only started traveling with the laptop and it gets booted up about once a day. But if I had the opportunity, I would probably check my business and personal e-mail 4 times a day (10 am, 1 pm, 3:30 pm and evenings) provided nothing particularly interesting was going on. The adventure of traveling always comes first, but there's a lot of boring countryside out there too (especially after it gets dark).

jamesinclair
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by jamesinclair » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:46 pm

Long distance train travel obviously requires a good investment in time.

Not everyone can take so much time off the connected world. Not because theyre obsessed, but because certain internet features are required. From your story, the girl was planning to use her "dead" time to work on a school project. Others may enjoy gazing at the scenery for an hour, but need to check work email and such.

Some people take the train for the fun, others take it because it's their best transportation option, so they need to make the most of it.

Train also has the advantage that it makes working easier than on a plane or bus. More space, bigger tables, smoother ride, and yes, wifi is expected because the train is at ground level.

Amtrak should have boarded the wifi train years ago, long before Megabus and American Airlines did.

markhb
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by markhb » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:23 pm

There have been several mentions of using phone connectivity as a substitute for wifi, but how much (particularly LD) mileage is also a phone dead zone? When I took the Lake Shore last week, some good-sized pieces of the Massachusetts route were without service.

Personally, I think that the Millennial generation will shun disconnected environments as they grow up; it's happening now. If Amtrak wants to be something beyond a niche player (where the niches are "primarily work-related corridor travel" and "railfans and aerophobes on vacation") in the future, it will need to be "always on".
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n2cbo
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by n2cbo » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:23 pm

Tadman wrote:WiFi on LD is kind of pointless. If you have to stay connected, you're likely not riding 3 days across country on the Builder. That said, WiFi on a mid-range or corridor train is a great idea and a good way to compete against other modes of transport. Getting work done on Acela or Hiawatha while on the cloud is a super idea.
I disagree. I rode across the country for 4 days on the LSL & The Builder From NYC to Seattle on a business trip. I did it so I could be away from work in a relaxing atmosphere and prepare an important presentation that I would have to give in Seattle. Being away from the office helped me get a "killer" presentation done, but it would have been nice to have access to the 'net also.

n2cbo
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by n2cbo » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:31 pm

jamesinclair wrote:
Amtrak should have boarded the wifi train years ago, long before Megabus and American Airlines did.
They tried back in the late '90s but it was not cost effective.

See:
http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.ph ... 45#p680026

David Benton
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by David Benton » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:04 pm

perhaps amtrak vcould have its own server onboard long distance trains , have the most popular youtube videos etc on it , update news etc at major stops .
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DanD3815
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by DanD3815 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:29 pm

wifi is a necessity in this day and age, plain and simple. Wake up and get with the times people!, whats next? small flat screen Tv's installed in the walls of viewliner bedrooms :) thatd be fun.

GWoodle
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by GWoodle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:21 am

David Benton wrote:perhaps amtrak vcould have its own server onboard long distance trains , have the most popular youtube videos etc on it , update news etc at major stops .
This could be a new way to bring back onboard movies & a trip guide for the route? would it be neat to have a "best of Amtrak" channel with video from/about the LD trains?

I can see it now. Need to have somewhere to escape from all this tech stuff. Take your favorite beverage/snack to a chair & look out the window. What happened to "See America?"
Glenn Woodle

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:55 am

DanD3815 wrote:wifi is a necessity in this day and age, plain and simple. Wake up and get with the times people!, whats next? small flat screen Tv's installed in the walls of viewliner bedrooms :) thatd be fun.
DanD, that's a "back to the future'; when delivered, the Viewliners had a small flat screen monitor in each room over which VHS casette movies were played throughout each car. There also was a selection of audio channels available as well.

However, Amtrak concluded that those with a penchant for that kind of stuff simply brought their own; the systems were costly to maintain and prone to breakdown, and as each car got a "heavy" during the Gunn administration, the equipment was removed.

Hey folks, do city subway systems, be they they NY, Wash, or Toronto, have that stuff? then who needs it.

CNJ

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by CNJ » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:33 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
DanD3815 wrote:wifi is a necessity in this day and age, plain and simple. Wake up and get with the times people!, whats next? small flat screen Tv's installed in the walls of viewliner bedrooms :) thatd be fun.
DanD, that's a "back to the future'; when delivered, the Viewliners had a small flat screen monitor in each room over which VHS casette movies were played throughout each car. There also was a selection of audio channels available as well.

However, Amtrak concluded that those with a penchant for that kind of stuff simply brought their own; the systems were costly to maintain and prone to breakdown, and as each car got a "heavy" during the Gunn administration, the equipment was removed.

Hey folks, do city subway systems, be they they NY, Wash, or Toronto, have that stuff? then who needs it.
Mr. Norman...I can't speak for any of the aforementioned subways systems, but I do know that Boston's MBTA commuter train system does in fact offer wifi in their cars. They even advertise it on the outside of their commuter coaches.

I'm sure that perhaps other commuter systems also offer the service...

Hamhock
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Hamhock » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:48 am

Amtrak is an organization that at least needs to make a passing nod at giving the people what they want. If the traveling population wants/expects Wi-Fi, then it needs to happen. Our bemoaning the choices that people make with which to pass the time is irrelevant; we're talking about the reality of fulfilling a want of the consumer.

gprimr1
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by gprimr1 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:18 pm

Just because one has wifi doesn't mean it's used all the time. I have an aircard, but I don't use it all the time. I like to See America, but what about when it's been the same scenery for hours, or when the train is stopped waiting to be passed, or when it's dark out? There are major dark areas for air cards, which would eliminate all but satellite internet. The poster who mentioned MA is correct. Once you leave Albany, there isn't much until Pittsfield, and not much until Springfield, and then not much till Worester, then it stays pretty good.

I'm sure there are people who would never look up from their laptop, but I don't think they are the majority.

And as pointed out, Amtrak should try to give what people want, not tell them what they want. Business travelers may use the train not to See America, but to wake up refreshed and showered at the destination, instead of waking up at 3am and taking the red eye.
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Cadet57
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Cadet57 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:33 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:[
Hey folks, do city subway systems, be they they NY, Wash, or Toronto, have that stuff? then who needs it.
The difference is you dont spend several hours or days on a subway, compared to an Amtrak train. And just because YOU don't want/need/feel like embracing it does not mean there are not many other passengers out there who would. If people did not want WiFi, airlines, bus companies and almost every type of business would not be putting it in.

gprimr1
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by gprimr1 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:38 pm

Ahh the debate between 20th century and 21st century travel. :)
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Moderator: General Discussion: High Speed Rail Amtrak
"I'm leaving on a jet train, don't know when I'll be back again. Bags are packed and there ready to go."
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